Sara Tindley
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Sara Tindley


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"Best albums of 2011 - Ian Shedden"

IT seems there have been more albums then ever released in the past 12 months, not least in Australia.

There has been quality along with the quantity, however, even in the past few months, with Washington’s Insomnia one of the best new Australian releases and American roots artist Ryan Adams’s Ashes and Fire a truly moving return to form.

GALLERY: Best albums of 2011

I’d like to give honourable mentions to a bunch of Aussie albums that didn’t make the 10 but which are still getting regular play on the Spin Doctor phonograph. They include Sara Tindley’s Time, I Want That You Are Always Happy by the now defunct The Middle East, Jebediah’s Kosciuszko and Oh Mercy’s Great Barrier Grief.
- The Australian

"Tindley show to inspire country roots adventure"

SHE has been compared with Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers.

Now you can make up your mind about country roots songwriter Sara Tindley, who will perform at Semaphore Music Festival which runs from September 30 to October 3.

"People and the landscape are at the heart of my songwriting," says Sara.

`I am endlessly curious about the way we relate to our loved ones, our friends, complete strangers and the landscape." Sara previously worked with SA band The Yearlings and found it "thrilling and satisfying". "Chris Parkinson had some great arrangements and ideas for the songs and Robyn (Chalklen) seemed to instinctively know how our guitars could work together," she says.

"Chris then gathered the rest of the players and before I knew it, we had an album."

For more festival info go to
- The Australian - October 2011

"Time - Sara Tindley "Ausmusic November 2011 feature album""

Nov 25, 2011 Updated Dec 16, 2011
The third album from the Northern NSW songstress is the final Ausmusic month feature album here on ABC Country.

Time comes as Tindley's first release in four years and was sparked by a family trip to New Orleans with Sara saying the holiday “just cracked me open – I bought an old Gibson guitar and I started writing again.”

More inspiration came from seeing alt-country band The Yearlings at the Mullumbimby Music Festival “I’d never played with The Yearlings but I knew they had a recording studio that was small and had limitations and I was attracted to that. I really wanted to own the faults and the imperfections with this album, I wanted to try and capture the joy of beautiful musicians playing together in a room. So I sent off a very basic demo to them, kind of like an invitation to a blind date. They accepted and I packed my bags for Maslin Beach.”

The album is a heartfelt journey with a range of themes, from the love and challenges of a country lifestyle, to a harrowing retelling of a colonial massacre of around 50 indigenous men and women.

Have a listen to an interview with Sara Tindley about the album with Pam MacIntosh at ABC North Coast here.

Track List

1. Golden 3.28
2. Yellow Moonlight 4.05
3. Time 3.29
4. Country Girl 4.39
5. Water Ran Red 3.06
6. Eves Garden 3.33
7. Nights Falling 3.07
8. Highway 3.20
9. Love 2.40
10. Little Birds (Maisie's Song) 2.50
11. Slow Dance 3.59
12 Country Girl (Reprise) 2.09

External Review

"The twelve songs that make up Sara Tindley’s third album Time cover a vast range of emotions with a beautiful lightness of touch and vulnerability in her writing and phrasing. Sara’s voice is easily comparable to Lucinda Williams’s, but with less gravel and whisky... If you’re looking for an album loaded with love, musical beauty and poignant life lessons, you won’t go wrong with Time."

[Les Thomas - Unpaved]

- ABC Country

"Time well spent"

The twelve songs that make up Sara Tindley’s third album Time cover a vast range of emotions with a beautiful lightness of touch and vulnerability in her writing and phrasing. Sara’s voice is easily comparable to Lucinda Williams’s, but with less gravel and whisky.

Produced by Chris Parkinson of labelmates The Yearlings, the sounds are intimate and warm with instrumentation that supports to songs perfectly but never gets in the way.

Golden opens the album gently with a story of longterm lovers reconciling their different natures. Yellow Moonlight explores the great themes of sex, desire and death with primal drums and guitar lines that sound like the musical equivalent of Viagra. The Polynesian sounds of Sara’s ukelele on the title track evoke warm Pacific currents and sunshine.

Sparse banjo, organ and percussion, create the soundscape for Water Run Red which tells the harrowing story of an Indigenous mother and child escaping a colonial massacre. At the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, Highway is an upbeat blues number with swinging Jerry Lee Lewis style piano.

If you’re looking for an album loaded with love, musical beauty and poignant life lessons, you won’t go wrong with Time.
- Unpaved

"Sara Tindley's Bush Tracks"

IT WAS a Sydney taxi driver who inspired the song, Country Girl, about walking away from farms turning to dust on Sara Tindley’s new album.
It’s a song being heralded as one of the most touching to come out of Australian country music this year and it certainly cuts to the bone in terms of reflecting what drought can do to people on the land.

Tindley, raised in western Victoria but now a NSW “North Coastie”, says Country Girl was the story of the daughters of a man from Broken Hill whose family had farmed for generations.

“Because of drought he lost the farm,” she said.

“He had to bring his family to Sydney to find work. He and his wife split up. He told me all about it while I was in his cab.

“When he left I couldn’t stop thinking about his girls, what it must have been like having been brought up out there only to find yourself in this hardcore city.”

Tindley herself came from a small country town, the agriculturally rich farming district of Camperdown.

“I was a townie but all my girlfriends were on dairies,” she said.

“I know the taxi driver’s story is not unique.”

Country Girl is on Tindley’s third album, Time, released through Vitamin Records in September.

Her earlier songs have played on the ABC series East of Everything and commercial television’s Bondi Rescue and through her career, she has garnered comparisons to the likes of country music greats, Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers.

She describes her style as country-roots – modern songs with a country lilt.

Her last album was released in late 2006 and the songs on Time, all written or co-written by Tindley, have been in the making since.

It has been a long time between drinks because she had started to question herself as a musician.

“The more I learnt about music the more I realised how much I didn’t know,” she said.

“And I wondered what I had to offer as a songwriter – who gives a rats what an aging housewife thinks about anything? “It was a real stumbling block.”

She even went back and had guitar lessons, despite the fact she has been playing since she was a teenager.

“The questions I had were relevant. I did need to broaden myself but I have come through that and realised this is my path and I will keep learning and trying to be better,” Tindley said.

Time, recorded live in the small South Australian studio of alternate country band, The Yearlings, is very organic. No doctoring, few overdubs – and Tindley plays guitar on every track.

She is now in the midst of taking her new material to the masses, with gigs at Sydney and in Victoria this month.

Australian country, she says, has a lot going for it at the moment, particularly given the strength of the younger generation, but it is also facing some big challenges like all music.

“People seem to take music for granted now,” Tindley said.

“The way we listen has changed and not necessarily for the better. It’s piped through our shopping centres, available at a touch on the internet . . . it’s the wallpaper effect, oversaturation.

“The beauty and power of music seems to be pushed to the background.

“Music needs to stop you in your tracks.”

But then, she said, there are events such as the Wingham Akoostik Festival near Taree, in October, which she has just played, that restore her faith.

“In small country towns, the music community nourishes its youth,” she said.

“Where today’s teenagers so often like to pretend they don’t have parents, here they embrace being a part of the community and they are so good on their instruments and focused on what they want to say with their music – their songwriting is incredible – it really is encouraging.

“Country music breaks down age and social barriers.”
- The Land - November 2011


Rootsy, folky, melodic, rambling, gentle. There are many words to describe this long awaited third release from the talented Australian. Comparisons have been made with a list of who's who of alt-country darlings (Lucinda, Kasey, Gillian....I would throw in a dash of Iris De Ment as well) but there is something distinctly unique in her style just as there is in all those mentioned. TIME is helped by the fact that it is indeed time that was taken to craft this great selection of numbers. Sara is a storyteller of the highest order and all of the songs on show here have their own life lessons to tell. The songs are both joyous and raw, emoting a narrative style that puts you in the heart of her world. GOLDEN and TIME are but two of the many highlights. - Reading Monthly, November 2011

""Heart it was a Desert" a finalist in the Americana Section"

One of Sara's songs from her 2006 Album 'Lucky the Sun' received an 'Honrable mention' for her song 'Heart it was a Desert' under the Americana Section of the International Songwriting Competition of 2009. - International Songwriting Competition - 2009

"Time (Sara Tindley) - 4 Stars"

THIS is the third album from Australian roots chanteuse Tindley, a talent underexposed thus far and one who deserves greater recognition on the strength of Time alone.

Based in northern NSW, Tindley upped sticks to record this 12-song collection at the Adelaide studio of roots duo the Yearlings (Chris Parkinson and Robyn Chalklen).

Parkinson produced what is a beautifully stripped-down affair, mostly, with subtle instrumentation leaving the intoxicating, melancholy tone of the songwriter to shine through. That voice sits somewhere between Lucinda Williams's brighter moods and the sweeter, fragile beauty of Natalie Merchant.

Of the mellower moments, accordion gently underpins the ambling waltz of Slow Dance, while the opening Golden drifts on a sea of brushed snare and acoustic guitar, offset by Tindley's breathy vocal.

Yellow Moonlight, an angsty rumbling blues, ups the pace, while Highway drops subtlety in favour of a bluesy bar-room stagger, with Richard Coates's piano to the fore and Chalklen on backing vocals. Coates's accordion gives the following song Love a slightly Cajun sheen.

. .
The centrepiece, Country Girl, tells a familiar tale of farmers doing it tough ("like the wheat on the plain I will bend with the wind") and its mid-paced weariness veers closest to the Williams oeuvre. The full power and emotional reach of Tindley's voice is best displayed on an a cappella version of the same song reprised, a fine end to a fine album.

RATING: 4 stars

"Tindley show to inspire country roots adventure"

SHE has been compared with Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers.

Now you can make up your mind about country roots songwriter Sara Tindley, who will perform at Semaphore Music Festival which runs from September 30 to October 3.

"People and the landscape are at the heart of my songwriting," says Sara.

`I am endlessly curious about the way we relate to our loved ones, our friends, complete strangers and the landscape." Sara previously worked with SA band The Yearlings and found it "thrilling and satisfying". "Chris Parkinson had some great arrangements and ideas for the songs and Robyn (Chalklen) seemed to instinctively know how our guitars could work together," she says.

"Chris then gathered the rest of the players and before I knew it, we had an album."

For more festival info go to
- The Advertiser, October 2011

"Sara Tindley - Time"

Sara Tindley suffered a bit of an artistic crisis in the lead up to this, her third album. The crisis was really a loss of artistic innocence. At the beginning of her career, Tindley was ingenuous, musically naive in many respects, free to make up her music as and when she saw fit. And it was the more charming for its ingenuousness. After the release of Lucky the Sun, well-meaning 'experts' suddenly started paying attention and offering all kinds of advice. The worst thing an artist can do is listen to such advice. Tindley, it seems, soon realised this, though it took her a good while to get back the instincts that had served her so well. Of her own volition, she approached Adelaide outfit 'The Yearlings', after being enchanted by their live performance, and asked if they'd record her next album.

Once again, Tindley's instincts have paid off in spades. Chris Parkinson and Robyn Chalklen emerge perfect foils for Tindley, Chalklen a like minded female presence whose vocals and guitar playing hover around Tindley's like a caring big sister, and Parkinson's guitar playing adding true grit to her songs in generous, wholesome servings. Add contributors like drummer BJ Baker, Lyndon Gray, Richard Coates and record-live-in-any-room guru engineer Mick Wordley, and the ingredients could hardly have been better selected.

How important is all that stuff in relation to Tindley's songs? Couldn't Tindley have sat down with just a guitar and a microphone and snug these songs just as effectively on her own? Well, no. As strong as these songs are, the joy and confidence Tindley has drawn from playing and recording with these guys is palpable in almost every second of this album. And that is taking no credit away from Tindley. On the contrary, she made the choice, took the punt and rose to the occasion with another batch or pure, affecting, honest and intuitive Australian country songs. That are, once again, now stuck in my head for the foreseeable future.
- Rhythms - Australia's Roots Music Monthly, November 2011


Most of the 12 songs on Sara Tindley’s second album 'Lucky the Sun' are set in a desperate place, where love and lust are coming to those who think they may have already seen their last good chance of such things go south. Tindley displays a Lucinda Williams-like intensity and maturity in her writing, and the delicious folk, soul, blues and country stylings support her argument that a late-blooming girl has a place in the world. There are sketchy details in the lyrics but enough space in the varied arrangements and Tindley’s dreamy delivery for the listener to fill in the blanks. Hot for You sizzles under the heat of James Gillard’s soulful guitar licks, One and Only amuses in showing a relationship is measured by the offer to listen to your version of Khe Sanh, while Paulie’s Last Ride tells of a friend who has come to an untimely end; his farewell is both tender and unsentimental. Produced by Bill Chambers, this is honest-to-goodness music for grown ups. - THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN

"SARA TINDLEY 4/5 stars"

Byron Bay-based singer-songwriter Sara Tindley has captured the attention of musicians and broadcasters across the nation with her latest effort Lucky The Sun, the follow up to 2003’s 5 Days.

Tindley has an interesting lyrical sense, often relying on the use of imagery to propel the narrative in her songs. One would imagine this style of writing to be quite difficult and terribly awkward if not done well, but Tindley manages to pull it off seemingly effortlessly.

Lyrically, she shows shades of Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers while musically sticking to a Lucinda Williams-esque country pop sound that’s about as sweet as anything that’s come out of the country for quite some time. There’s something uniquely Australian about Lucky The Sun; it’s honest, funny, sad and has an overall laid-back, almost careless feel.

Bill Chambers once again proves himself to be one of the most important figures in Australian country music as his tasteful production makes the songs sparkle and his delicate guitar work adds another element to a number of the tracks.

This is compulsory listening for all supporters of Australian roots music, the only problem being its punishing ability to put other more lauded artists to shame.

Dan Condon - Time Off

"SARA TINDLEY - Above The Pack"

THERE is something wrong in Australian country music, and no amount of record sales will convince me otherwise.

There is too much that is bland, there is too much that is cliched and there are too many records that go over the same old ground.
Of course, that criticism applies to commercial music of all kinds, and notably the Nashville country production line.

But just when you are hoping for something to come along that presents fresh angles to the country tradition in the way that Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers manage to do, along comes Sara Tindley.

And she's Australian, based in Byron Bay.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise to discover that her second album, Lucky The Sun (Vitamin), is produced by Bill Chambers, since many of the good things in Australian music are in some way connected with that clan, either as producers or performers.

But Tindley is also her own woman, with her own things to say, and Chambers has the good taste to recognise that and hook her up with a magic band including himself and James Gillard on guitars.

The playing sparkles and Tindley's clear-as-a-bell voice floats above, but it's the quality of her writing, the insights of her lyrics and her sense of humour ("I think you and I mean something/I'll even listen to your version of Khe Sanh") which set her above the pack.

For proof, take a listen to Heart it was a Desert, a story of physical and emotional abuse, with its poetic opening refrain ("A man with an umbrella meets a woman with barbed wire/They circle around each other/Never naming the desire.")

Paulie's Last Ride takes perhaps the oldest story in the country book – "going home to my home town" – but makes the tale seem brand new. Like all good songwriters, Tindley knows not to give all the answers. What happened to Paulie? It's not explained, but you know that whatever it was, it wasn't a happy end.

Perhaps best of all is True Believer, a yearning piano ballad that has more in common with Carole King and Jimmy Webb than country.

Others might have been tempted to turn this into a big production number, with strings, pedal steel and the kitchen sink. But with a song and voice as good as this, no adornment is required.

Fans of Gillian, Lucinda and Kasey, check this out.

Noel Mengel
- The Courier Mail

"SARA TINDLEY - Lucky The Sun"

The best thing that can happen to Byron-based Sara Tindley with her second album is that the local country scene ignores her. She is too good a songwriter and too diverse in her influences and styles for that moribund environment where they celebrate "authentic" mediocrity and drag everything down to that level.

Tindley's mix is a roots melange with country as its dominant, but not overwhelming flavour. So alongside the slide guitar of producer Bill Chambers and the classic harmonies there's country soul in Rambling Ways and Dirt Music which bring to mind Shelby Lynne, while Rain Falls deserves some of the attention we've already paid to Tift Merritt. A strong '70s singer/songwriter mood infiltrates True Believer and Heart It Was A Desert suggests someone has been listening to Patty Griffin.

Even when the territory is more straight line the excellent players - James Gillard, Will Grahame, Jeff McCormack and Mitch Farmer join Chambers - bring a lovely swing to Anchor Me. This is a good album so let's hope the city picks her up before Tamworth ruins things.

Bernard Zuel
- Sydney Morning Herald

"BLUES AND ROOTS with Marty Jones."

Sara Tindley is my new favourite Australian artist. As I mentioned in this column a couple of weeks ago, Sara is a Byron Bay based artist who has just released her second album, Lucky The Sun. The first time I put the album into the CD player I recognized its quality – Sara’s singing style is warm, gentle and unaffected and accompanied by the rich guitars of producer Bill Chambers and James Gillard, shines like the sun in the title of the album.Though the album bears country music influences, it is not tainted by the clichés of most contemporary country, both Chambers and Tindley determined to construct a recording with integrity.

But Tindley’s real strength is her blossoming songwriting. I listen to a lot of new records every week, but nothing has echoed around in my head more consistently than the songs from Lucky The Sun, especially the sassy opening track Hot For You and the touching and timeless True Believer.

Tindley has assembled a strong band, The Kingfishers, to perform Lucky the Sun live – including Karma County drummer Stu Eadie and Fort guitarist George Chrysostomou – and folks are still talking about the set they played at Byron Bluesfest, a set that scored them a spot on this year’s Splendour in the Grass bill. Sara Tindley and the Kingfishers play three shows this week: Thursday at the Vanguard (with Sarah McGregor), Friday at the Beach Hotel in Newcastle, and Saturday at the Federal Hotel in Bellingen.

- DRUM MEDIA May 15 2007


"Time" Released Sept 5th 2011
Produced by Chris Parkinson
Feature Album on ABC's Lucky Ocean's program

"Lucky the Sun" Released Oct 11th 2006.
Produced by Bill Chambers
'Album Of The Week' ABC Radio National – Dec 2006

"5 Days" – Released 2003
NCEIA "Album of the Year " – 2006
Track "Down the Avenue" received high rotation on ABC local radio nationwide.



A girl growing up in a small country town in Western Victoria (Australia) disinterested in Aussie Rules (football), can feel like a stranger in a strange land. Thankfully, her older brother had a stereo and some vinyl. Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Dire Straits saved her from certain death by boredom, and began a lifelong passions for songs.

On leaving school, she worked at everything from machinist, waitress, milking cows, nursing, anything that would pay her rent in her search for meaning. Music and her love of nature were her constants.

Years of roaming around Australia saw her settle in Byron Bay in the early 90s. She met ukulele/guitar virtuoso Azo Bell and they quickly formed a successful due Azo and Sara an in 1996 recorded their album ‘Tortoise Shell’. They travelled around Australia playing festivals, streets, cafes and halls.

The demise of that partnership led to Sara working on her first studio album ‘Five Days’ in 2002. ABC radio picked up her autobiographical song ‘Down the Avenue’ leading to her inclusion on ABC’s compilation ‘Best of Airplay’ and to a television commercial for the ABC with Sara on the back of a truck singing that song to cows. The dizzy heights.

While promoting ‘Five Days’, she played a show with alt country legend Bill Chambers. He became something of a mentor to Sara and when ready to record her second album, she called on Bill as producer. In 2006, the fruit of their labours became the critically acclaimed ‘Lucky the Sun’. Beautiful plating and some great songs ensured its success and lead to a very dark ‘Heart it was a Desert” being a finalist in the Americana category of the International Songwriting Competition and songs placed on a ABC series ‘East of Everything’ and commercial TVs ‘Bondi Rescue’.

Now her third album is finally finished. Recorded at ‘My Sweet Mule’ studio in South Australia, with The Yearlings’ Chris Parkinson as producer, this latest album is her finest work to date. From the stunning opener “Golden” the album is bathed in the warmth of old school recording equipment and honest performances. Recorded live on tape, no doctoring and few overdubs, the integrity of this recording gives you a sense of being in the room with these fine musicians. It has the country / folk styling of her previous work and the songs are a compelling mix of narrative and the confessional.

Sara with her band, or as solo, has played the East Coast Blues Festival x 2, Mullum Music Festival x 2, Gympie Muster, Spendor in the Gras, Tamworth Country Music Festival x 4, Wingham Akoostic Festival x 3, and hotel, halls, cafes and lounge rooms around the country.